Education staff members at Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History are dedicating their Saturdays this winter to educationally entertaining children about the lives of animals.
From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday starting Jan.19 and going throughout February, the programs will explore birds, reptiles and mammals and include crafty, hands-on activities for children.
The programs are available for grades K-5. An adult must accompany children K-2 during the program. The maximum class size is 25 and registration deadlines for each program are the Monday prior.
Brian Bartels, museum educator, said the museum has done winter programs in the past and he is hoping to make it an annual activity.
"It's my job to educate kids on natural history, to get kids interested in the natural world," said Bartels.
He said that when children know their surroundings, it makes them well-rounded people and he'd like to see them hooked on the outdoors. However, since the winter is not a good time for children to be outside, Bartels said, "we're bringing the outside in."
Each Saturday, participants will meet in the Sternberg Museum Lobby and a representative from the education department will escort them to the Engel Education Center.
The programs include "For the Birds!" about birds that don't fly south for the winter and where they can be found. Participants will also make a bird feeder. "Bonkers about Bison!" will cover the history of bison and why they are called the "Monarchs of the Plains." The craft will involve creating a miniature bison.
At the program "Where Do They Go in Winter?," the education department will discuss insects and reptiles and where they go when it's cold outside. "Animal Origami" will allow children to create paper animals on a mobile and discover what makes them unique.
"Who's Hooting?," a study about different kinds of owls, will teach participants how to tell the difference between them by listening to them hoot. The last activity, "Who's Hibernating, Who's Not?," will identify which mammals hibernate and the process they go through in order to survive the cold winter.
The programs are free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated, said Bartels.
In case of bad weather, parents and guardians will be notified of cancellation.
"For the Birds!," 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19; registration deadline: Jan. 14.
"Bonkers about Bison!," 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26; registration deadline: Jan. 21.
"Where do They Go in Winter?," 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2; registration deadline: Jan. 28.
"Animal Origami," 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9; registration deadline: Feb. 4.
"Who's Hooting?," 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16; registration deadline: Feb. 11.
"Who's Hibernating, Who's Not?," 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23; registration deadline: Feb. 18.
To register or for more information, call Bartels at (785) 628-5502 or e-mail him at email@example.com.